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The 2017 Toyota Camry Has a Painful Design Flaw

(That picture is not of a Camry, in case you didn't know. Read on and you'll get it.)

I recently had my trusty 2000 Avalon in the body shop of the local Toyota dealership for repairs. The shop had cars for rent, and they were all Toyotas, of course. They didn't have any hybrids (my first choice), nor did they have Avalons, so they put me in a Camry, which was the closest thing.

Okay, let me just say, I love my car. It's 17 years old, but I bought it new and have taken care of it. I do realize that it might need to be replaced within the next few years, as parts DO get old and wear out, and this was a good opportunity to "test drive" a new model. Honestly, I was unimpressed. Sure the car had more updated tech than mine, but that actually amounted ONLY to a backup camera, a UPS port, and touchscreen controls. However, it also seemed really cheap, full of plastic and with cloth upholstery, whereas I have wood trim (or at least something that looks like wood) and leather. I know, that's a matter of trimline, and I'm sure I could get those options in a new Camry, but my car handled better (smoother steering), and I doubt that would be an option.

Those might be personal quibbles, but here's the biggest problem: After I'd had the car a couple of days, I noticed a horizontal bruise on my leg, about mid-calf. I wasn't sure how I'd gotten it until the next time I got into the car--owwww! Turns out that the chassis of the car sticks out at the bottom of the door, rather than tapering under, leaving a bit of a ledge when the door is open. Since I tend to enter the car with one leg first (doesn't everyone?), the other leg tended to bump against this ledge before I pulled it in. There really wasn't any different way to get into the car, short of jumping through the window like the Duke boys, so I tried to do it as gently as possible. Nevertheless, over the days, the damage added up, and my leg got pretty sore. So, when my car was finally ready two weeks later, my relief at being back in it was considerable!

Now, I am grateful for ONE thing; the amount of time that I had the car allowed me to find out about this issue. It's not something I would have noticed on a single test drive; it was the accumulated damage that alerted me to the design problem. If I'd actually purchased a new Camry, I wouldn't have any choice but to return it...or start getting used to jumping through the window!

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MegL wrote on August 10, 2017, 4:55 AM

Yes, very often "improvements" are cheapie changes being sold as improvements when they are just for saving the manufacturer some money. That was a useful test drive. I wonder if the car's performance might have been to do with previous borrowers. You certainly must have looked after your car!

VinceSummers wrote on August 10, 2017, 6:29 AM

Reminds me of the advertising claim, Meg: New! Improved! If something is new it can't have been improved, since it didn't exist before... Yeah, I know... semantics...

lookatdesktop wrote on August 10, 2017, 1:06 PM

Our 95 Caddy has no room to get in and out without difficulty. It once sold for around 65 thousand but we got it used and as a gift from my wife's son, who may have got the car from auction. But anyway, it has bucket seats and for me, every time I get in I have to make sure my foot doesn't kick the speaker cover in the door. It is definitely a design flaw, but more than that, it costs 1500 dollars to remove the oil pan to replace the gasket. Yep. I ain't paying that much to replace the leaky gasket as I could buy a newer used car for that much and have an entire car in the deal.

lookatdesktop wrote on August 10, 2017, 1:07 PM

I wonder if the designers actually ever drive the cars they have made?

lookatdesktop wrote on August 10, 2017, 1:08 PM

Good point, Vince.

VinceSummers wrote on August 10, 2017, 5:38 PM

A Caddy, eh? I once had a '67 T-bird. It was a lovely car, but the electric windows used plastic switches, which kept breaking, but their manufacture was discontinued! Also, it had resonators, which drove the cost of an exhaust system through the roof. I dumped the car. Typical American car.

Kasman wrote on August 11, 2017, 4:49 PM

All cars have some sort of fault which, while it may not be detrimental to the running of the car, is a definite pain for any long-term ownership.

lookatdesktop wrote on August 11, 2017, 8:09 PM

Fix or Repair Daily?

VinceSummers wrote on August 11, 2017, 10:29 PM

Flopped it on Revenuer's Doorstep.

lookatdesktop wrote on August 12, 2017, 6:19 PM

That is one for the books. I tried to figure out who Revenuer was and got a few ideas. Either it has something to do with a delivery service or boot leg alcohol sales. I am stumped by this.

VinceSummers wrote on August 12, 2017, 9:42 PM

The revenuer is the income tax guy.

AliCanary wrote on August 25, 2017, 4:12 AM

That's a good question! I'm sure the cars are tested, but I doubt anyone takes them for any length to discover flaws such as the one I found, which really can't be fixed.

AliCanary wrote on August 25, 2017, 4:16 AM

Yes, even my Avalon has an issue--the car is very low-slung and tends to scrape if a driveway or roadway is humped.